Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Boots

In 24 hours, I’ll be sitting on that same slope as the one in the picture, glassing for elk. I’m pretty damned excited. I get two days to hunt cow elk this week, followed by 5 days of searching for some mule deer. We just put two whitetail does in the freezer and our party of 8 hunters took a total of 28 deer out of a couple of drainages in Southwestern Montana in an effort to help control the population. After that hunt, it was obvious that I needed a new pair of boots. So I went down to Montana Outdoor Sports yesterday and picked out a pair. I also, I would note, passed on the Leupold range finder that was calling my name. I’m sure my feet will be barking over the next week as we run all over the Rocky Mountain Front, and the Coulee country of the Marias River.

I’m not big on antlers. A trophy to me is 3 inches of fat on the ass of a mature cow elk, the backstrap of a mule deer doe, and the sirloin tip steaks and round roasts that will feed my family over the next year. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a fine set of Boone and Crockett bones sticking on top of an elk or deer. I am, however, known in deer camp as Mr. Doe Fever. It’s a title I kind of like.

We process our own meat. It’s a great family event in our house. My wife and I mix up a pitcher of Caucasians and we get down to the cutting. The dog is poised at our feet, waiting for venison to fall from the sky. We make our own sausage, burger, jerky and stock. It’s a ritual that I’ve come to enjoy just for the sake of being alone with my wife – no phones, no computers and no distractions. It’s a good family experience. One that makes us appreciate the gifts of wildlife and wild country that were given to us by past generations.Generations of men and women who stood up and were counted. One that makes me appreciate the need for new boots.

We’ve seen the attempts this year from Congress and the MT Legislature to attack the very ground necessary to grow critters. We’ve seen people place the short-sighted goals of the global economic engine over our own pastoral lives. We’ve also seen the great awakening of the common hunter and angler. We’ve beaten back the bastards all year, and we’ll keep doing it.

As my friend Jim Posewitz is quick to point out, it’s the 100 year anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt being kicked to the curb and running as a third party candidate. It’s only fitting that we commemorate that event with a little bit of TR’s speech from the Sorbonne:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Keep fighting.

1 comment: